tv U.S. Senate Sens. Schumer Menendez on Iran CSPAN February 13, 2020 8:04pm-8:20pm EST
treat initiative to help address climate change. after that, health and human services secretary testifies on the trump administrations 2021 budget request for his department. senators came to the floor to express their views on the iran war powers resolution that would limit the president's ability to take military action against iran without congressional approval. here's a look at what some of the senators had to stay starting with democratic leader, chuck schumer. >> ymadam president, today the senate will vote on a bipartisan war powers resolution authored by senator kaine,kadi erecting e president to terminate the use of armed forces for hostilities against the republic of iran. the constitution is clear, congress has the power to declare war. the president has no authority to enter the united states into
thanother in this conflict in middle east. i fear the presidentsrr erratic decision-making, lactose tragedy and inability control his impulses may bubble us into a war nonetheless, even if he does not intend it. with this bipartisan resolution the senate will assert its constitutional authority and send a clear bipartisan message that the president, this president or any presidents,nd cannot sidestep congress when it comes to matters of war and peace. it's important to do this now and the president's actions in the middle east have escalated the confrontation before the state of the union h, the president himself said war with iran was closer than you thoug thought, his words. to me be clear, nobody in this chamber will shed a single tear over the death of iranian general but that does not mean that we disregard the potential consequences of the strike or any comparable action. it is more than appropriate for congress to affirm that it has
authority over any major long-term hostilities with iran. yet, still some on the otherre side have claimed that this war powers resolution is nothing more than an attempt by democrats to embarrass president trump. ofe founding fathers would laugh at that assertion. one ofs the great powers they gave congress, not the executive was the power to declare war. this resolution is partisan and then why are a good number of her publicans supporting it? let me say this again with this resolution is going to pass with a bipartisan majority of senators in support, a rarity these days. if this is purely an attempt to embarrass the president it will be a bipartisan one. we need to stop pretending all sides of the aisle aren't too concerned about the president having too much leeway over the matters of war and peace and that his wife this resolution is bipartisan because both sides of the aisle agree that for too
long congress has exceeded our constitutional authority for the executive branch and we are taking an important step today to claim that authority back. today there will be amendments offered that would seek to do one thing and one thing only, undermine what we would achieve today and provide the president's lawyers with get out of jail free cards. my colleague from arkansas has the amended that would create an exception for operations against foreign terrorist organizations and sounds reasonable at first but any enterprising lawyer in the administration could use as an amendment to justify the type of unilateral escalation hostilities that this legislation would prohibit.bi my colleague from florida has an outcome that seeks a similar outcome and my friends on both sides who wish this resolution to pass should vote down these amendments that cut to core of legislation paid senator kaine told me that this amendment passed the cotton amendment, he
would be forced to vote against his own bill. what good would that do? one final point, with respect to the situation in iran we still don't have a clear picture from the administration about our strategy in the region. the only transparency this a administration has been able to muster was classified all members reading conducted more than one week after the strike. ninety-seven senators attended but only 15 members got to ask questions before the administration led by secretary pompeod practically sprinted out the door with the less than genuine commitment to return. our demands for a follow-up briefing have been ignored by the white house, secretary esper, secretary pompeo but those briefings should have s,curred before the action. i learned about what we were doing and in the news in two hours later got a call from the administration. i fear that by keeping congress
and the administration in the dark president trump may be directing military operations in a manner that does not stand up to public scrutiny but when you're forced to consult with congress and when congress has the power to declare war quick and sloppy thinking evaporates because people have to at least examine the issues in some detail and the american public has k some say. that is why senator kaine's work power resolution is a matter of necessity. i commend senator kaine and his colleague for the job he is done including my colleague from illinois sitting right here and urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it. now, on department of justice, o and the short weeks and the conclusion of the presidents impeachment trial the president has reminded us of all the reasons why congress must serve as the check on the executive. the president has dismissed members of his administration who testified in house impeachment inquiry including for no reason the twin brother
of one of the witnesses. the administration has reportedly withdrawn the nomination of the senior pentagon official who merely advised their colleagues about the legalan implications of delaying assistance to ukraine. truth, when the president doesn't like the truth has no place in this administration and people who speak truth to power are summarily dismissed. on tuesday after prosecutors made sentencing recommendations for roger stone who was found guilty of witness tampering and lying to congress and the president tweeted that his former colleague competent was being unfairly treated. soon "after words" it appears the attorney general or other political appointees at doj countermanded the sentencing recommendation and will instead advise a more lenient sentence for the presidents friend. as a result all four prosecutors connected to the stone case withdrew from the case or resigned from the justiceep department entirely. the clear signal they believe the revised sentencing
conflicted with the professional and ethical obligations of prosecutors. of course, it was not enough for the president to just lean on the justice department to make it easy on his old pal but the president when publicly to attack the judge who would preside mr. sohn's face. another example of the president's blatant contempt to the independence of the judiciary. in the past, chief justice roberts spoken out in defense of the independence of the judicial branch and when the president during the campaign attacked judge curiel, chief justice released a statement say we do not have the obama judges, bush judges or clinton judges but we have an extra in a group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. the independence judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.at that is what justice roberts said, chief justice roberts.
well, president trumped was once again attacking a federal judge, in this case, judge amy jacksonn who was presiding over the stone case and the nation now looks again to chief justice roberts to make clear to president trump that these attacks are unacceptable. speaking of the independence of the judiciary and brought in oeneral terms is well and good and it's a good thing to do but do not speak up now when in the middle of this brouhaha a judges being attacked by the president before she makes a sentencing decision that is when we really need the chief justice to speak up so now would be the time for chief justice roberts to speak up and out would be the time for the chief justice that directly and specifically t defend the independence of this federal judge. i hope he will see fit to do that and to do it today. i've also called on the
inspector general of the justice department to investigate the roger stone matter. the judiciary committee in the senate to do the same but even without formal investigation it something is rotten in the justice department. president can corrupt our justice department into major ways, pressuring it to investigate his opponents, using its power to reward his friends but the impeachment of the president concerned the first abuse on the president wanted a foreign power to announce an investigation into one of his political opponents or funnel allegedly incriminating a information to our justice department. the president explicitly mentioned the attorney general during the phone call with the ukrainian president and more recently attorney general barr publicly said that the justice department now set up a channel to receive information from the president's personal attorney, rudy giuliani, about the ukraine scandal. it seems to be an attempt to it,
stsh the singles the present was just impeached over. the events surrounding mr.r. stones more lenient sentencing regulations are an example of the second way presidents can corrupt the justice department and properlyfr reward the presidents friends. in the lake of watergate congress passed laws made crucial crucial reforms sobu ths kind of abuse of believers of power it would not happen again but here right now the president is using the hollowed justice department from only cabinet agents agents he named for an ideal justice as his personal law firm and using the justice department named for an ideal justice as his personal law front. what a shame, what a defamation of what the constitution is all about. my senate colleagues who believe the president would be chastened by impeachment have been completely and disastrously wrong. the only lesson the president has learned is that there is nothing he can do that set
number of publicans will not thrgive or rationalize or simply ignore. the lesson the president has learned is that the courts are unlikely to stop them too because the senate revolve again caucus h is voted to confirm virtually every judge he nominated no matter how unqualified or ill-suited to the bench. we are starting at a crisis of the rule of law and the institutions designed to check executive poweriv are crumbling before our very eyes. the crisis was the president's own making but it was enabled and emboldened by every senate republican who has been too afraid to stand up to the president and say no. i yield the floor. >> madam president,.
>> senator from new jersey. >> i asked consent to speak up to three minutes. >> without objection. >> thank you madam president. i rise in strong support of sj rez 68, senator kaine has done a member of the foreign committee has done an extraordinary job here and riveting our attention to a congressional responsibility that is paramount. it calls for the removal of u.s. troops and hostilities against iran the congress is not authorized. one of the most consequential decisions we make as members of congress have been called on more than one occasion betweenbe the house and the senate is whether or not to send our sons and daughters into battle. it is a decision that is about life and death and national security. the constitution delegated that power to only one institution of the entire federal government, the congress ofau the united states to declare war because of
the severity of the consequences of the decision and it is up to the congress to ensure that the executive branch, whoever sits there at any given time, utilizes all the tools of diplomacy it has to keep americans safe and that there is an effective check on executive power before we send our children off to war. so, i stand in strong support of the resolution that this body must assert its congressional privilege. of course the president has the right to take action to defend against imminent threats to the homeland and to americans abroad. senator kaine does not dispute that, none of us do but the president does not have the authority to engage in any military action that he likes. we have been hearing from this administration that there is a red liner that. iran cannot have
a nuclear weapon. i agree. but, if at the end of the day that means that to enforce your redline you will take america to war then you must come to the congress of the united states and seek that authorization for war but what i hear from the administration that we have article two powers and 2002 resolution that had nothing to do with iran, never envisioned, to suggest that that is an authorization isor wrong for us and can we sit back and let and contemplate that possibility? we cannot. we cannot. and so, as someone who voted against the war in iraq and served in congress and debate whether to authorize military action i can assure you it was now it's intention, the 2002 resolution, and does not comport with the history, use or plain reading of the text.
i'm gravely concerned by the administration's efforts to build a shaky legal foundation for the expose its purpose of carrying out ever longer wars including potentially against iran. before we vote to ultimately decide that it should be the congress of the united states that should make that decision on behalf of the american people looking our sons and daughters in the eye and saying yes, this is worthy of the national security of the united states. i will vote to send my son and otdaughter if the cause is right but if the cause is not right i will not vote to send my son or daughter or any other sons and daughters and that's what the debate should be habit that is what senator kaine is trying to do and i am concerned that some of the amendments being offered is simply to undermine that. i look forward to joining with senator kaine to pass the resolution and with that, i yield back. >> president, i think president trump's decision